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Max Verstappen mocks Lewis Hamilton ‘luck’ with answer to Michael Schumacher question

Max Verstappen mocks Lewis Hamilton ‘luck’ with answer to Michael Schumacher question

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Max Verstappen won’t be targeting a record of haul of world titles after claiming “you need a lot of luck” to get where Lewis Hamilton is. Verstappen, 24, dramatically beat the Mercedes man to the F1 title last season, following a controversial finish to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 

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Arguably, it was the Dutchman who had the luck that day, benefitting from the dubious late safety car procedure which ultimately cost FIA race director Michael Masi his job.

It meant a maiden world title for the Red Bull driver, and a first for Christian Horner’s team since 2013, and also scuppered Hamilton’s hopes of becoming the first F1 driver in history to claim eight championship crowns.

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The 37-year-old was quick to congratulate his rival afterwards, but then refused to speak publicly as speculation mounted that he would be retiring, having been ‘disillusioned’ by what transpired at the Yas Marina.

Verstappen and Hamilton fought for the 2021 title.

However, he has now confirmed he will be lining up for the Silver Arrows alongside compatriot George Russell for the 2022 campaign, citing his desire to make history by winning another championship, which would move him clear of fellow seven-time winner Michael Schumacher.

 

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Verstappen however, doesn’t yet harbour ambitions to surpass either of the icons, and aimed a sly dig at Hamilton’s perceived longevity.

“You need a lot of luck to be in such a dominant position for so long. I just want to have fun,” he told motorsport.com.

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The pair dominated the 2021 season, between them winning 18 of the 22 Grand Prix races on offer, and there relationship became tempestuous amidst a series of on-track incidents.

And yet, despite his obvious disappointment, Hamilton was dignified in the immediate aftermath of the Abu Dhabi race, praising Verstappen and opting to thank his fans and team members, as opposed to complaining about the outcome.

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Verstappen conceded he couldn’t completely relate to what the British driver would have gone through – but said his past success would have served as consolation.

“I’m not a seven-time world champion. If I were, the situation would hurt a little less,” he said.

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Hamilton and Schumacher have seven world titles.

“When it comes to the first title, you lead all the time, have everything under control and then lose in the last round, that would be deeper than if you already have seven.”

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And he also refuted the notion that he had been fortunate to be declared champion.

“It was a good season and I think I deserved it,” he continued.

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“I was very unlucky. People only remember the last race. But if you look at the whole season, the World Cup should have been decided much earlier.”

Verstappen will begin his title defence on the opening race weekend in Bahrain on March 18-20, with FIA bosses now seeking a replacement for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi after it was cancelled in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Credit:CN,Getty Images,www.express.co.uk

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